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Sand dredging set for Del Mar river mouth

Posted on November 2, 2022

The San Dieguito Wetlands Restoration Project team plans to excavate the buildup of sand that is blocking the San Dieguito River tidal channel, with equipment expected to arrive during the second week of November. The work will last approximately two weeks.

The same process of sand removal and placement of sand for beach replenishment has been used several times in past years to open the river mouth and is necessary maintenance to protect the 150 acres of constructed wetlands. The plan is to excavate about 16,000 cubic yards of high-quality beach sand from the San Dieguito River channel and place it south of the river mouth to 18th Street.

Removing the sand periodically is one of the most important components in the overall health of the wetlands, since the aquatic life, vegetation and wildlife in the nature preserve are all connected and dependent on these daily, saltwater flows for their sustenance. It will enhance the natural tidal flows between the Pacific Ocean and the hundreds of acres of newly formed and existing habitats that depend on daily tidal flushing. Once completed, beach visitors will notice more sand on Del Mar beaches plus more saltwater flowing through the river channel as hundreds of millions of gallons of ocean water bring fish, plankton and nutrients via the river mouth into rare coastal habitats to constantly reinvigorate the eco-system.

Excavation of the Channel

Excavation approvals were provided by federal, state and local authorities.  Mobilization of equipment (i.e., front-end loaders, excavators, haul trucks and a pump) will start Nov. 9 with completion expected Nov. 23.  Access to the south side of the beach west of Highway 101 will be closed for safety purposes. When sand is being placed on the beach, we encourage safe access via 26th Street. Equipment can work in the area between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, but these times will be determined by the tidal influence and wave action. On Saturday, equipment can work between 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Equipment will be parked overnight on either the north or south side of the San Dieguito River next to the project site in areas that are restricted to access.

Environmental Protection During Construction

Minimizing interference with any migratory and endangered bird nesting activity or other wildlife marine animals is one of the most important operational components to the dredge operation.  Project biologists will monitor the site during construction for any nesting activities to protect birds.


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